Recently I compiled a 10 question survey for past residents of Maple Heights, Ohio, in response to reading Once the American Dream by Bernadette Hanlon. In the book Hanlon discusses the decline of inner-ring suburbs. She looks at age of housing (homes built in the 1950’s and 60’s have become obsolete), shift of wealth (inner to outer ring) and poverty (inner city to inner ring suburbs), deindustrialization and population decline. Suburbs in the Northwest and Midwest were particular vulnerable when they had a high dependence on manufacturing and when a large portion of their housing stock was built in the 50’s and 60’s. Sounds like Maple Heights, doesn’t it?
87 former residents completed the survey. I would like to thank them for taking time to participate. This is by no means scientific, but nonetheless I hope you find it interesting.
The 1st question pertained to the year the person graduated.
- 1960’s- 14
- 1970’s – 40
- 1980’s – 22
- 1990’s – 4
- 2000’s – 2
- No Year – 5
6 of the 87 indicated that they attended a private school.
The 2nd Question pertained to why the respondents family moved to the City of Maple Heights and where they moved from.
- “move to the suburbs”, “better (safer) neighborhood and/or schools” – 30
- be near family – 5
- work – 5
- purchased (built) a home in Maple Heights – 18
- 47 moved from Cleveland.
- 8 were Maple Heights Natives
- 13 from other inner-ring suburbs
- 3 from outer-ring/Northeast Ohio area
- 2 from Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh area)
The 3rd Question asked whether the respondent, their parents, grandparents or great grandparents were immigrants?
- 9 parents
- 57 grandparents
- 36 great grandparents
- 7 none of the above
The 4th question asked about ethnicity:
Almost everyone cited one (or more of the following):
- Eastern European (Polish, Czech,Slovak, Hungarian)
- German, Irish and Italian
One respondents ethnicity was Black.
The 5th question pertained to what type of work dad did, service or manufacturing and if he worked in Cleveland or Maple Heights.
- 43 manufacturing (industrial)
- 50 service (of those that indicated a type of service 18 were “blue collar” and 11 were “white collar” type service jobs)
- Cleveland 54
- Maple Heights 11
- other suburbs 10
The 6th question asked about the types of jobs male respondents had (or female respondents husbands) and where those jobs were located.
- Service 48 (8 “blue collar”, 14 “white collar”, rest unknown)
- manufacturing (technology) 6
- manufacturing (industrial) 13
- Cleveland 12
- inner ring 4
- outer ring 25
- out of area 17
What I found most interesting about these two questions is that you can see the shift to the outer ring suburbs, as well as the shift away from manufacturing. Two things that have been the downfall of Maple Heights.
The 7th question pertained to whether mom worked outside the home and whether female respondents (or wives of male respondents worked outside the home).
- 15 worked FT
- 19 worked PT
- 8 worked by didn’t have to
- 23 didn’t work outside the home
- 9 Sometimes
- 38 work Full-time
- 6 work part-time
- 0 work but don’t have to
- 3 don’t work outside the home
The 8th question asked about home ownership of the respondent’s parents.
- 81 respondents parents owned their own home
- 2 lived with extended family
- 0 rented (while they lived in Maple)
Most said their homes had been built between the 1940’s through the early 1960’s with a sprinkling of older and newer homes.
The 9th question asked when and why the “family home” had been sold.
Most were sold in the 90’s or 2000’s, with a few in the 80’s.
- 16 homes were sold due to the death
- 25 moved to outer ring suburbs and of those 15 said they moved because the neighborhood was declining.
- 9 downsized or moved to nursing home/assisted living facility
- 9 parents or siblings still live there
- 1 indicated that they were unable to sell and were renting the home
The 10th question asked why the respondent moved and where they moved to.
- 17 moved when they got married
- 6 moved for a job
- 20 moved because the neighborhood/schools were deteriorating
- 2 people wanted more land
- NO ONE indicated they had moved for a bigger or newer house.
- Out of area: 23
- Outer-ring Suburbs: 30
- Inner-ring Suburbs: 6
*I pulled a handful of responses out where the respondent still lives in Maple and I will combine those responses with my “current resident” survey.